This flash fiction piece is a response to the Literary Lion post Sun:


It was dark outside, but the horizon was hinting at another big reveal. As he sat in his favourite armchair, stoically refusing to close his heavy eyelids, Mr. Johnson looked forward to sunrise. His mind was as it used to be, but a smile crept onto his face as an old memory came unbidden into the forefront of his thoughts.

“Mum, I’m worried,” said Billy, aged 6.

“Why’s that, my dear?” his mother quickly replied, wondering why her child was up this early on a non-school day.

“. . . What happens after we die?” he asked, his words anxiously quiet as if afraid of unsatisfactory answers.

The softness of his voice contradicted the bluntness of his question. She was silent a moment, thrown off balance by the sudden hypothetical thrown at her by such a tiny person at such an early hour.

“Well, what happens when you sleep?” she countered, attempting reassurance in the face of a question of this magnitude.

“What do you mean, mum?”

“I mean, what do you think about when you’re asleep?”

Billy looked quizzically at his mother, unsure as to what the right answer was.

“Erm, nothing? I don’t think of anything but sometimes I dream about things . . .” His voice tailed off, still unconvinced as to the correctness of his response.

She smiled calmly at her son and impressed a fundamental concept into his consciousness, “That’s exactly the point, Billy, you don’t think about anything when you’re asleep. So when you die you won’t be thinking about anything either, you’ll just be asleep for a long time and won’t know that you’re not thinking.”

Billy’s hands clenched nervously around the duvet, a frown burrowing across his normally stress-free forehead.

“What I’m saying is, there’s no point worrying about what happens after you die, because you won’t need to think after you’re dead. Just as you don’t and shouldn’t worry about falling asleep, you shouldn’t worry about dying.”

His brow loosened, eyes widening in acceptance of this new insight into post-existence.

“There’s no point even worrying about it; you don’t think when you’re dead,” breathed William Johnson, eyes drooping slowly, dimly aware of the sun’s rays breaking through the treetops. The house was still. The sun fell through the Victorian window panes and warmly lit his face. To a casual observer he could easily have been asleep. He would have liked that.

Advertisements